In the Beltway, it is typical for petty fights to take priority over real issues. Consider the “nuclear option” battle that is taking up much of the Senate’s attention, when the federal deficit this year is $512 billion and climbing.

Now, Kathleen Parker is saying the GOP is committing “principled suicide” by taking on the farm bill and the Senate’s immigration bill. From her July 12 column:

Histrionics aside, whether the fact that something has been done a certain way for 40 years is an argument for repeating the same bears a bit of scrutiny. Republicans argued that they’d prefer to deal with agricultural issues in one bill without the leverage of a welfare program.

These two programs historically were tied together in the spirit of — watch out now — compromise. And, though food stamps certainly will be funded, probably at current levels, through some other vehicle, Republicans managed to create yet another partisan problem where none existed and opened themselves up for gratuitous criticism.

Was this really the right fight at the right time?

And on immigration:

The wrong time would be in the midst of the politically life-altering debate on immigration reform. Again, congressional Republicans want to parse reform in pieces, excluding the 11 million or so immigrants here illegally, instead of dealing with reform comprehensively, as the Senate has done — and as most Americans think necessary.

Republicans do have a point, in theory. Comprehensive bills are cumbersome and difficult to enforce. Democrats love great big lumbering programs because they (a) often do great good, at least in the short term; and (b) create great big self-sustaining bureaucracies that are, by nature, self-propagating and attract large constituencies of voters. This latter is Republicans’ chief objection.

But 90 percent of life is picking your battles, and congressional Republicans keep picking the wrong ones. This is not true of all. Former Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has joined Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.) to push comprehensive immigration reform.

Parker’s column is lopsided in many ways. First she hits Republicans for “picking a fight” over runaway welfare spending, but fails to call Democrats on their part in creating perpetual dependence on taxpayer programs. She chides both parties for their partisan and misleading attacks on each other, but concludes the GOP is on the losing side of the demographics. All of which leads to the conclusion that Parker is joining the ever-smaller portion of the nation that believes the parties should prioritize their own survival over that of the country.

This is not to say that policy is the only factor that should play into debates in Washington; as in anything, tactics and strategy play a major role in victory or loss. However, it’s never a good political time to argue against subsidies for Big Business and less entitlement spending – the entrenched interests will always fight tooth and nail for continued overspending. Meanwhile, the country continues its slide to socialism and financial implosion.

The goal of the Tea Party Patriots is to prioritize principle and policy over party. The Republican and Democratic Parties can both join the ash heap of history, or not; the choice is theirs. The real issue is the survival of America as the world’s freest nation, and creating an economy that is truly free and just, not controlled by centralized Beltway interests. In calling for Republicans to sacrifice principle for politics, Parker is encouraging more of the same ol’, same ol’ – the exact reason America is in such dire financial straits.